As spotted by What’sOnDisneyPlus, Hulu has added almost 30 National Geographic documentaries to its ‘expiring’ page for the end of March – and given that Disney’s streamer boasts its own dedicated National Geographic hub, we expect many of these non-fiction features to land on Disney Plus next month.
Disney hasn’t confirmed as much just yet, but with both Hulu and National Geographic now majority-owned by The Walt Disney Company, it’d be a big surprise to see these documentaries – many of which are already available on international versions of Disney Plus – move elsewhere.
These aren’t small independent features, either. Hugely popular long-running series like Nazi Megastructures appear on Hulu’s list of outgoing documentaries, as well as newer projects like 9/11: One Day in America (which was recently commissioned to coincide with the twentieth anniversary of the September 11 attacks).
Check out the full list of titles below:
To Catch A SmugglerTrafficked With Mariana Van ZellerLocked Up AbroadPop Goes The VetDrug Lords: The Next GenerationNarco WarsDrugs IncHitler’s Last StandNazi MegastructuresNorth Korea: Inside the Mind of a DictatorBlood On The WallGreat Shark Chow DownCannibal SharksShark Movers: Deadly CargoForecast Shark AttackActivate: The Global Citizen MovementBin Laden’s Hard DrivesSuperstructures: Engineering MarvelsThe March On WashingtonApollo: Back To The MoonThe Armstrong TapesUltimate Survival WWIIExtreme RescueLegendary CatchDead By DawnRise Again: Tulsa and the Red SummerSnake City9/11: One Day in America
As we alluded to earlier, some of the documentaries on this list already exist on Disney Plus in non-US regions – Nazi Megastructures, for instance, has been available to stream on the UK version of the service for some time – which makes us even more confident that they’ll be making the switch from Hulu to Disney Plus in the very near future.
This also comes just a week after Disney confirmed that former Netflix shows Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, The Defenders and The Punisher will be joining Disney Plus’ back catalog of Marvel TV shows on March 16.
Analysis: a frenzy for factual drama
The battle between platforms like Netflix, Disney Plus and HBO Max to stock the best movies and TV shows is well documented, but more and more emphasis is being placed on creating quality documentary content in all corners of the streaming wars.
Buoyed by the pandemic-era popularity of series including Tiger King and The Last Dance, Netflix has enjoyed particular success in producing some of the best documentaries of the last few years. The approach has paid dividends, too – for a time, The Tinder Swindler ranked as the biggest movie on Netflix (outperforming much more expensive feature-length projects on the service).
Disney, on the other hand, hasn’t dedicated as much in-house resources to producing new documentary content, but its acquisition of National Geographic has outsourced the task to arguably the best filmmaking hands in the non-fiction business (Free Solo won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature in 2019, while 2021’s The Rescue is nominated at this year’s ceremony).
The arrival of 30 more documentaries, then – on the US version of Disney Plus, at least – further increases the value of a streaming service that poses the biggest immediate threat to the long-standing supremacy of Netflix.
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